Noor is the Arabic word for ‘light.’ Situated on the edge of the High Atlas Mountains and Morocco’s desert, Ouarzazate has plenty of ‘noor’. Which is why the North African country decided to build a mammoth solar-power complex there.
Much of the financial backing for the giant project comes from the Moroccan solar energy agency MASEN, the European Investment Bank and the European Union. To showcase the importance of Noor for the people of Morocco and the global fight against climate change, the EU’s Neighborhood Investment Facility funded a visit to the site by eight creative writers from Europe and North Africa.
The writers, who include poets, musicians, novelists and masters of travel reportage, had no limitations on what they could write. They were given no specific instructions, except to write something amazing.
For fans of these writers, you can go straight to their pieces from the list right here, or read down to see which ones look most interesting to you:
Álvaro Arbina : UTC ±
Khaled Elnimr: The Man of the Desert
Juan Gómez-Jurado: Icarus’s Dream
Auke Hulst: From a Diary Found Aboard the Abandoned Spaceship ‘The Argonaut’
Carsten Jensen: A Revelation in the Desert
Liz Jensen: Courage is Fear that Has Said its Prayers
Luigi Spinola: Geopolitics of the Sun
Tina Uebel: Shaping the Chaos
Behind the stories
The young Spanish historical novelist Álvaro Arbina Diaz de Tuesta gives a deeply human context to the massive reflective surfaces of the Noor complex in his story, which moves between Morocco, India and South America.
Nature and the people
The connection between people is also at the heart of Khaled Elnimr’s story. An Egyptian writer who has lived in Europe for many years, Khaled chooses a narrator who finds a link to nature and the local people of Ouarzazate living beside this great technological project.
A lyrical surprise
When you read Juan Gomez Jurado’s thrillers, you’re never able to predict exactly where this inventive writer will take you. That’s true of his story here, which will also introduce you to a lyrical side of one of Spain’s best-selling authors.
Music from Mars
If David Bowie had been a Dutch artist, he might well have come up with the striking combination of music, song, poetry and photography that Auke Hulst contributed to this series. But, then, even David Bowie couldn’t do what Auke does with his narrator recalling life on Mars.
Inspired by the light
To readers keen to learn about Denmark, its people and history, Carsten Jensen’s novel “We, the Drowned” is a revelation. For Carsten, the same turned out to be true of Noor. He titled his response to the project “A Revelation in the Desert”.
Questions for the reader
For a probing examination of climate change, read the piece by Liz Jensen, a leading British writer who has worked in several genres, including sci-fi. Don’t expect her to let you off easily, however. Her piece poses questions directly to the reader.
Luigi Spinola unearthed some surprising historical details from the history of solar power alongside his impressive reportage from Noor itself. Luigi also develops a series of thought-provoking insights about how the future of solar energy might fit into the geopolitics of Europe and its neighbourhood.
Crazy, brilliant and doomed
Prize-winning German novelist and travel writer Tina Uebel turned her thoughts to humanity’s battle to survive in her piece on Noor. Like all Tina’s work, it’s compelling and unique, a paean to what she calls her “wonderful, crazy, brilliant, doomed and degenerate and utterly poetic species.”